White Sox to increase efforts in Latin America with additional scouts

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White Sox to increase efforts in Latin America with additional scouts

The White Sox will hire seven scouts this offseason as the franchise refines and reshuffles its international and amateur departments.

After he spent the last 14 months assessing an international department that has produced one player over the past decade, Marco Paddy, the special assistant to the general manager in international operations, will add five new scouts.

The amateur scouting department will also add two new scouts.

While hes happy for the additional bodies in his department, amateur scouting director Doug Laumann is more pleased with the international hires. Rick Hahn last week described a department, which will add two scouts in the Dominican Republic, one in Mexico, one in Venezuela and another to cover Curacao and other areas, as bare bones.

It will kind of get us up to speed, Laumann said. I dont think its a secret we tried in the amateur department to supplement things werent getting internationally. Its what we need to do.

Over the last season Paddy -- who spent the previous five years as the director of Latin American operations for the Toronto Blue Jays -- determined what were the White Sox international issues and how to fix them.

The department has had recent success in its development of infielders Eduardo Escobar -- who was traded to the Minnesota Twins in July -- and Carlos Sanchez, along with pitcher Andre Rienzo.

But much more production is needed and with restrictions placed on international spending in the most recent collective bargaining agreement, the White Sox felt now is the time to make their move.

(Marco) has a feel for what we need, said Del Matthews, assistant director of player development and scouting. Weve had recent success, but it was definitely needed. With the new rule changes in the basic agreement it kind of made it an even playing field for everybody and it was a great opportunity for us to ramp up our efforts and hopefully well see some fruit in a couple of years.

Laumann believes international production will help the team in the amateur draft in terms of creativity. In years past, because the organization needed to add bodies the international program didnt produce, Laumann was forced to find players to fill holes instead of taking risks on higher potential draftees.

Your hands are tied going to the draft knowing you have to find that shortstop or second baseman, Laumann said. It takes away from your creativity and what you can do.

Laumann still must find one more scout for his own department after he promoted J.J. Lally to a full-time area scout. Formerly an assistant director of player development and scouting, Lally will cover the Northwest as the White Sox reduce Adam Virchis previously large territory -- one that included all of Northern California, Northern Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Canada.

Weve been spread a little thin, Laumann said. We felt like (Virchis) was spending too much time away from the Bay Area.

The team must also find an area scout for the Northeast as part of the domino effect from the promotion of Nick Hostetler, who became the assistant director of amateur scouting.

Ryan Dorsey, who previously scouted the Northeast, now covers Indiana, Michigan and Chicagoland. His position must be filled.

The two new hires gives Laumanns department 18 area scouts and 25 bodies overall.

The extra personnel can be good as long as your organization has good communication and knows how to weed through the information, Laumann said. We have a pretty good mix now.

Derek Holland ends spring on strong note as White Sox down Dodgers

Derek Holland ends spring on strong note as White Sox down Dodgers

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Derek Holland ended a productive spring with his best outing to date on Monday afternoon.

Healthy and excited to officially kick off his White Sox career, Holland delivered six strong innings in a 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday. The left-hander allowed two earned runs and five hits in six innings pitched, walking two and striking out one. Holland is expected to pitch once more in Milwaukee on Saturday before pitching in the third game of the regular season.

“Definitely feel good,” Holland said. “Feel very confident with everything, very happy with how the spring went. I worked on what we needed to work on to get myself ready for the season and stay healthy and I’m very happy with that. But most of all when you get out there and pitch, the defense, you have to keep them on their toes, and I thought the last out was the perfect example of that.”

Holland was referring to a nice diving catch by Jacob May that prevented at least one run from scoring. The longtime Texas Rangers pitcher was pleased to have established his fastball early and mixed in his offspeed pitches and changeup.

“I wanted to make sure we were going the distance,” Holland said. “I didn’t want to have a setback, and I thought we did a great job.”

The White Sox appear to have narrowly avoided one setback on Monday and are awaiting word on another. An X-ray on the left wrist of infielder Tyler Saladino was negative after he was hit by a pitch while getting in work in a pair of minor-league games. Saladino has been diagnosed with a bruised wrist.

The team is still awaiting word on pitcher Jake Petricka, who took a comebacker off his pitching hand in the seventh inning. Petricka exited the game, got his hand wrapped in ice and left to take an X-ray.

The White Sox are also waiting to learn the results of Carlos Rodon’s second opinion. Rodon was scratched from Friday’s start with a tight bicep tendon and had a physical exam and took an MRI, both of which showed he had no structural damage. Rodon traveled to Los Angeles early Monday for the second opinion with Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Even if he receives the all clear, the White Sox will remain cautious, manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s almost like you have to re-start the process a little bit,” Renteria said. “It would be foolish to try to anticipate or push him into any direction without first of all ultimately having whatever the diagnosis is or the validation or whatever it might be of the second opinion. Once we get that, we’ll know hopefully tomorrow how we can ultimately proceed. I wouldn’t think we’d try to ramp him up quickly.”

The club also expects to have more clarity on the status of right-handed pitcher Juan Minaya on Tuesday. Minaya, who has been out since March 15 with an abdominal tear, was re-evaluated on Monday. Minaya had a 3.18 ERA and nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings this spring.

Matt Davidson also had two hits in the White Sox victory and drove in a run. Melky Cabrera hit a solo homer, his first of the spring. Yolmer Sanchez blasted his third homer of the spring, a two-run shot.

Zach Putnam struck out two in a scoreless inning.

With season a week away, Todd Frazier is 'right where I need to be'

With season a week away, Todd Frazier is 'right where I need to be'

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After he pulled the ball more than ever in 2016, Todd Frazier has worked to hit it the opposite way more often this spring. Even if he struggled.

But as the Opening Day nears, Frazier doesn’t want to cheat himself. Though he struggled last season, Frazier hit a career-high 40 homers. That kind of success means Frazier will continue to pull a pitch if it’s where he likes it. That approach led to a double and Frazier’s first home run of the spring in a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. Both balls were hit to left field.

“I’ve been working on a lot of things and sometimes when you work on something the results aren’t going to be there,” Frazier said. “But I still stay true to myself. And once we start getting going here, pretty close, close as can be -- it’s time to have those things in the back of your mind. But at the same time, you have to hit it where the pitch is and put in play. I was working on a lot of things. I was still trying to go right field, couldn’t get it out there. And now you go to what you know best and just react.”

According to fangraphs.com, Frazier hit 22.8 percent of all balls he put in play to right field last year, which is actually above his career mark of 22.5 percent. But en route to slashing .225/.302/.464, Frazier saw a second consecutive dramatic drop in the number of balls he hit to center. Of the balls Frazier put in play, only 28.5 percent went up the middle, down from 37.7 percent in 2014 when he produced a career-best wRC+ of 122.

To correct that trend, Frazier has worked to give himself a better chance to hit outside pitches the opposite way. Now that his focus is back on hitting to all fields, Frazier thought it was a good sign to homer with a week left before the season starts.

“It feels good,” Frazier said. “It’s showing I’m in the right place. It was a changeup and I’ve been out in front on a lot of those. I’ve got about 10 or 12 more at-bats before the season starts and it’s go time. Get back in the rhythm of things. Whatever you worked on, keep that there. If it’s outside now I have that weapon too as well. I’m right where I need to be.”